- (Photo: Reuters / Mario Anzuoni)
Southwest Airlines will charge customers a no-show fee if they miss a flight but fail to cancel their seat prior to takeoff in 2013. The new Southwest fee will apply to "Wanna Get Away" fares and be accompanied by new overweight baggage fees.
The airlines has widely marketed that it does not impose a fee on customers a fee when they do not show up for their flight or change their flight plans last minute. If they miss their flight or cancel, Southwest fliers are allowed to use the full value of their ticket toward the purchase of a new ticket.
The offer has caused Southwest Airlines to have too many empty seats so the company decided to implement some itinerary changes and fee hikes.
"We have made the decision to tighten the flexibility around our most restrictive tickets," said Southwest CEO Gary Kelly.
"Specifically, we will implement a no-show fee for reuse of funds associated with restrictive tickets that are not flown and not cancelled by our passengers prior to flights."
Kelly said the changes will help increase the airline's revenue and promote customer behavior that would allow their seat to be sold before takeoff.
So how much will the no-show fee cost?
Kelly did not give an exact amount or an exact date for the implementation of the Southwest no-show fee but said it would take place in 2013.
Southwest executives also plan to raise baggage fees. The fee for overweight bags will cost $100, double the current cost of $50. Early check-in will cost $12.50, up $2.50.
AirTran Airways, a subsidiary of Southwest, will raise its baggage fees as well, charging $25 for the first bag, up from $20, and $35 for the second bag, up from $25.
The new fees are expected to bring Southwest $100 million in revenue.
The changes were announced during a conference with Southwest Airlines and AirTran Ways executives and top investors on Friday in New York.